Being Fat ( and then a bit thinner )9:40 am
This post has been bubbling away in my mind for quite some time now, and I warn you it may take self indulgence to a new level, but I'm hoping that like my "Bath" post, some people out there will identify with some of what I have to say.
Once upon a time I was thin. I can look back now to my twenty something self and think I actually had quite a nice figure, which I mostly hid under baggy 90's fashions.
1994 at a friends wedding
Then I had babies, lots of lovely chubby beautiful babies. My belly grew, and grew, and grew some more! My babies were all large, the largest being Sid at a shade under 11lbs.
I can honestly say that being pregnant with my first five babies, was the only time I've been confident in my body. I relished every change, felt bountiful and beautiful in my vastness.
Florence's due date 2009
With each baby I gained a little more weight. I indulged in those extra 500 calories a day that everyone says you need to breastfeed, plus more for good measure.
I was happy with my voluptuous lactating self. Yeah, sure I often wished I was slimmer, or fitter, but mostly I was happy. I didn't really think of myself as fat.
On holiday in 2008
Then Florence was born.
During those first few weeks it was hard enough remembering to breath, I certainly couldn't eat. I sipped tea, and I think I nibbled on the corner of some cake that had been bought by Woody's sister, but my throat constricted, and I couldn't swallow.
The midwife looking after me in the days following Florence's birth told me I had to think of food as medicine. I had to think, "bite", "chew", and "swallow". I told her I would try.
Woody cooks, he's a great cook, and he shows us daily how much he loves us by feeding us. He cooked after Florence died. he cooked for the children, and for any guests popping by, and he cooked for me, but I couldn't eat.
After several days he shouted at me. He rarely shouts, but he was trying to love me by feeding me, and I was refusing, unable to eat.
The only food I really remember eating in those early days was a casserole left on our doorstep by a wonderful friend. I ate some of that with tears streaming. There was love in that pot of food, and we all knew it.
Three weeks after Florence died, my best friend got married. Her wedding was beautiful. I had made her wedding dress, and had been looking forward so much to being there with my new baby tucked into a sling.
I couldn't eat anything at the dinner, I shuffled food around my plate, and passed it to the children, swapping their clean plates for my full one. Not wanting to offend...I'm not sure that my best friend knows I did that even now.
Three weeks after Florence's birth
I knew, even in those early days that my reluctance to eat wouldn't last long.
I've always been an emotional eater. I eat when I'm stressed, or tired, or angry, all the usual stuff.
I really wasn't that surprised then when I started to eat again that I was eating so much. I would tell myself I needed to keep my strength up, pregnant again, and then after Ernest was born, I needed the extra calories to feed him.....The truth was though that I was trying to fill the Florence shaped hole in my gut with chocolate biscuits.
When I admitted this to myself. I started to watch my diet. I used an online calorie counter, and to my surprise found it really not too hard to start shedding those extra pounds. Pumping a litre of milk each day for Ernest meant that losing that weight really wasn't so hard, and I could still indulge my sweet tooth.
I lost a decent amount of weight doing this, but it got harder, and I lost interest in calorie counting. That's when a friend suggested we go along to a local slimming group together.
I've met some great people at the group, some of them neighbours I might not have said more than "hello" to before. I managed to lose more weight, and reached my "target" weight on August 7th, the third anniversary of Florence's funeral.
I stopped going to the group in September.
I needed to take a break from the intense diet stuff, the constant counting and weighing, and I mean this in the nicest way; I needed a break from some of the crazy. I'm sorry, but a quiche is not a quiche without pastry...it's an omelet!
I'm glad I've lost weight, I'm not skinny, far from it, but I'm thinner than I was, even with the few pounds I've gained over Christmas.
Being thinner hasn't made me happier. I'm still dealing with the emotional eating,I still haven't found an alternative form of self care, but I understand now that I can't fill that Florence shaped hole with food. Nothing can fill that space.